Molyneux On GODUS’ Surprise Publisher, Free-To-Play

By Nathan Grayson on May 30th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Peter Molyneux likes to say things – perhaps a little too much, if a few forgotten promises pertaining to Curiosity and GODUS are any indication. Yesterday, he and I discussed Curiosity’s aftermath, what it means for GODUS, and why things like a PC version of the almighty floating cubolith never surfaced. Today, we continue that discussion with what exactly the sudden (and very unexpected) addition of a publisher to GODUS’ mobile arm means for everyone else, whether or not the game will employ free-to-play and/or microtransactions, and where all of this leaves 22Cans’ much-ballyhooed 22 experiments. It’s all after the break.    

RPS: Moving on to the mobile version of Godus for a moment, you’re doing a publishing deal with DeNA. How is that going to change the game, especially relative to the PC version?

Molyneux: There’s a few things here. First, one thing comes back to Curiosity. I don’t know if you followed Curiosity at the start, but it was pretty ropy. We released the game, it crashed a lot, we lost people’s gold coins, there were a huge number of things that we didn’t get right. Part of the reason was that we had never really published anything before. We’re all just coders and artists here. There’s no one here that’s very good at publishing stuff.

[Mobile publisher] DeNA has no creative control over Godus whatsoever.

We can handle doing the PC version ourselves, and we’re releasing that first for sure, but what Curiosity proved is that releasing on a billion mobile devices throughout the world, in all territories, going through all the hoops that Apple requires you to go through, and curating all of the problems from all the different Android versions is a non-trivial task. And it’s one which is hugely distracting for the team. When Curiosity was launched, we basically did nothing but service Curiosity for like three weeks. We just can’t do that. We’re not big enough to do that.

One of my obsessions at the moment is not to grow 22Cans. It’s to try and keep us focused on being just developers, and not to take on a huge infrastructure. It’s tempting to do that, because then if you take on a huge infrastructure you can do things like publish yourself. So we’re learning from what we did with Curiosity. We decided that we should concentrate on making games, and not publishing games.

That’s where DeNA came in. They can take on the burden of publishing and distributing the game. They know about the mobile side. They know about games that are successful. They know about things like communities and stuff like that, and we can learn from them. They have no creative control over Godus whatsoever. They have no intellectual charge over 22Cans. They have no investment in 22Cans. This is purely a segmented deal for the iOS and Android versions only. It has no effect whatsoever on the PC version or the Linux version or the Mac version or any other versions we may think about in the future, like consoles.

This is the mistake, the horrible, terrible, tragic mistake I made with Lionhead. I forgot who Lionhead should be. You have to define who you are, and what we are is obsessive developers. That’s what we should be. That’s what we should stay. If we try and make ourselves into something more than that or different from that, then we lost that obsessional, passionate quality that is the thing that makes a game great.

Lionhead grew to like 300 people. We just forgot who we were. We forgot why we were. We forgot what was important. If we can stay small, as 22Cans, and if we can stay obsessive about one thing and make that one thing brilliant and amazing, then we can stand up and hold our heads about the parapet and be proud. But if we start diluting it, then bad things happen. That’s my view. It’s the least American view you can possibly get, because to run a company successfully, you should always be tripling your turnover and you should increase your staff rate by 10 percent a year and all that stuff. This is not like that at all.

RPS: DeNA’s a publisher, though – one known for free-to-play games, at that. Surely they’ll want some say in what you’ll be charging for Godus and how you’ll incorporate those fees into the game?

Molyneux: There’s nothing in the contract that does that. I think you have to listen to people like that because they have a lot more experience than you. I’m obsessing about what we’re charging on the PC. It has to be the right price for the right experience. One of the big questions I want to ask the people who play the alpha and beta version is, what do you reckon we should charge for this game? And we’ll get our pricing structure from that. That seems to me to be the most influential way of judging the right price. Rather than me or even a publisher being able to say, “It is $2.99.”

This is a huge issue, by the way. The price of computer games is set by who, at the moment? The price of console games. Who sets those prices? It’s not the publishers. It’s the retailers. They’re the ones that set the price, really. You would be insane to release Call of Duty at $9.95. That would never happen. It happens because it has to be priced in a certain way. The whole metaphor of how we charge for games, especially in this world of the different ways of getting money for people, is changing very radically.

I love the idea of, rather than saying, “Everything on Steam is $19.95, so we’ll be $19.95,” I much prefer the idea of getting the people who pledged to help us with that pricing decision. Maybe that goes terribly wrong and it ends up that Godus is 2,000 pounds a copy, or 20 pence a copy, or maybe, just maybe, this is a way to start judging the price. We have no expert marketing people here. We don’t even have particularly great financial people here. We’re trying to find one of those people, by the way. So it seems like the best people to ask are those people.

RPS: But also, during your Kickstarter, you explicitly stated that there’d be no publishers involved. It’d just be 22Cans collaborating with backers. What happens to that process now?

Molyneux: DeNA have no influence whatsoever on the design of the game, on the pricing of the PC version, on the release date of the PC version, nothing at all. That was one of the criteria we had. What I would say is that I would be a fool if I didn’t listen to them about pricing on mobile, because they have more experience. No real concrete decisions have been made on that as of yet, because we’re obsessing very much about the PC version at the moment.

Mobile players are going to get their digital copy. They’ve already paid for that digital copy. Whatever our decision, we will give value to that digital copy. We would be crazy not to do that, to recognize that. I think the fact – and of course I’m turning this around to be a net positive, as you do – but I think the fact that we’re no longer having to obsess about distribution and translation and all of that stuff is a good thing for the people that have pledged for a mobile version, because it means that we can focus on it being a great mobile game.

RPS: Ultimately, are you thinking free-to-play for Godus, or a more traditional upfront fee? If you’re doing microtransactions, what will they be for?

Molyneux: The trouble is, with free-to-play is… If I came to you five years ago, before the extremely harsh, cruel free-to-play designs that we’ve seen on Facebook and mobile came around, if I said to you, “I’ve got this great idea. The next game we’re going to release will be free, and you’ll only pay for things that you use in the game,” you would be unbelievably positive about it. It’s only that free-to-play has been kind of twisted, in my mind. Twisted around… I’m going to say the word “greed,” but I’m not sure it’s the right word. It’s twisted around addiction.

There are certain games – I’m not going to name the games, because this is not a positive thing I’m saying at all – that have done that in a very unpalatable and unsavory and destructive way. But I still fervently – as a designer, purely as a designer – love the initial concept of free-to-play. Which is, you get to play the game, and you get to choose how to use the few dollars and cents that you want to invest in the game. You get to choose how you spend that money. I love that idea.

If a game is like a hobby, then I love spending money on my hobbies. I love spending money on cooking. I’ve got every kitchen gadget known to man. None of them are particularly useful, but I still love spending money on them. So I think there is a goodness to free-to-play that I’d love exploring as a designer.

That being said, we want to wait until we’ve got feedback from our pledgers before making any of these decisions. In the alpha, I’ve put certain things in the game, and I can watch how people interact with them to start making that decision. This decision, as I said earlier, isn’t a decision that feels like I’m an expert in making – how much to charge for my game or whether it should be full free-to-play or whether it should be free or whether it should be subscription. There’s a whole host of options there. It feels like any game feature nowadays that I design needs to be tested. Why should the pricing be any different than that?

So the only thing I’m going to say – I know it’s frustrating not to get a straight answer – is that we’re going to listen to many influences when we’re thinking about things like pricing and what to charge money for. We’re going to collect those together and it’s going to be more of a Kickstarter decision than it is one particular person like myself making the decision. If I said to people today, if I said the words “free-to-play,” everyone would throw stones at me. Because everyone’s experience with free-to-play is so tragic. If I said it’s going to be priced at $19.95 or $29.95 or $9.95, I’d probably get loads of negative reactions too, because it would either seem too expensive or too cheap or whatever. It doesn’t feel like a decision that we can make today. We need to get more data to make that decision.

 If I said the words ‘free-to-play,’ everyone would throw stones at me.

RPS: How do you plan to collect that data? What’s going to be the deciding factor in all this?

Molyneux: We have three, four ways of measuring those. We’ve been working hard on analytics. We are looking at people’s play styles. We’re looking at how often they interact with certain things. Some of these analytics were inspired by Curiosity and the questions that we kept asking ourselves about Curiosity. Some of them are particular to Godus. That’s the first way.

The second way is that periodically – and slightly aggravatingly, by the way – during playing the alpha and possibly the beta, it will pop up with some survey questions to ask you specific questions about specific issues at certain times during the game. Then you have got the ability to e-mail us directly about things that you’ve liked, things that you haven’t, things that you’re wondering about. Some of those e-mails will be, I’m sure, about things like bugs and stuff like that, but also about game features.

And then lastly there are the forums themselves, where I’m sure debates will rage. There are specific questions about pricing in the survey that we’ll ask. We’ll also be looking at these analytics to watch some of the game mechanics that we have put into the game, to test whether the more gradual monetization makes sense. It’s hard to really explain. But you only have to wait 24 hours if you pledged for alpha access.

RPS: Initially the idea behind 22Cans was to do 22 experiments and ultimately culminate them all in a big dream game. But you’ve also been describing Godus as your dream game. What’s the plan for the other 21 experiments? Is that still a thing that’s going to happen, or for now is it on the back burner in favor of Godus?

Molyneux: Certainly I would love [to keep doing them]. My original dream was to be able to do experiments and Godus at the same time. I’d love to have the time to do that. I don’t think that would be sensible to do at the moment. I think all of us are working extremely hard. I don’t like pushing people beyond their limits. I don’t think it’s right to give people so much work that they have to destroy their lives to do it, so we try and resist working very late or on weekends.

This means that there had to be some sacrifices, and some of those experiments are the sacrifices. There was another experiment I would love to do, but we just haven’t got the bandwidth to do it. That being said, Godus, when it’s released, isn’t finished. There are experiments in the alpha, and I’m not going to tell you where they are, but there are definitely experiments in the alpha which are interesting. I think when we’ve got Godus released and we’ve got more time, we’ll return to that experimental nature, and then continue adapting Godus as a result of those experiments. Because you’ve always got to remember that in today’s world, you can continue to develop a game for many, many years after the release, if people like it.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

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99 Comments »

  1. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I think he is a developer that could actually benefit from the pressures of a true publisher. Keep him real, sorta.

  2. Bluestormzion says:

    This man hasn’t done anything even remotely close to the grand plans he constantly announces. I care less about what he has to say than about the sacks of cow plop that I sell for 8.99 at work.

    • Noburu says:

      I havent taken anything from him seriously since the first Black and White. That game was a major letdown for me.

    • qrter says:

      This is what generally baffles me about Peter Molyneux – in many, many ways he’s the archetypical ‘designer as auteur’ (almost to caricatural levels), someone with a constant stream of idiosyncratic and unique views and ideas.

      But then you look at the games he has actually produced, and they seem awfully bland and uninspired.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        !!! That’s exactly it !

        Bland in the most conformist way.

        RATED PG 12, not even 13.

      • Bhazor says:

        Really? I’d say its almost the opposite. Interesting ideas with no game.
        Black and White and Fable both had interesting ideas and systems and then they just… stopped. The number of levels in B&W was pathetic and Fable’s (at the time) gorgeous world was paper thin with maybe a half dozen sets of armour and three enemy types all in what was only a barely disguised series of corridors. Its a real shame, it’s like the team just finished all the hard bits and then didn’t bother putting anything around them.

        • qrter says:

          I think we’re saying the same thing – Molyneux has all kinds of interesting ideas, but they don’t translate into good/interesting games.

      • Mctittles says:

        Although I agree and it’s cool to be down on Molyneux currently, what I don’t get is how people idolize the devs in Indie Game: The Movie.

        All of them can talk for hours about how originality is dead and big publishers suck etc, but at the end of the day all of them just made another platformer game. At least Molyneux attempts to do something new on occasion.

        • SaVi says:

          Plattformers with a TWIST, mind you. But yeah, always annoying to start a new indie game just to see that its idea looses the novelty minutes in to the game.
          Peters Problem is that he is telling too much on what is going on in his head way to early. People hate when an honest man can’t deliver, but if it is someone who acts more discrete, he won’t have to own up to it.

    • merc-ai says:

      Hey, thanks for sharing your negative opinion.
      We really needed to know that you hate the guy. Thanks, hater.

      • limimi says:

        Yeah, we get it – you’re molyneux or his bastard son or something. Sorry not everyone likes you/your dad. I don’t know what you expect to achieve by telling people who say something mean about him that they said something mean about him, but it’s mostly just annoying.

    • aircool says:

      So far, all of his games seem to involve a lot of clicking that has little impact on what the game is doing.

  3. kregg says:

    I think I’ve actually lost how to feel.

    THANKS OBAMA MOLYNEUX

  4. Cinek says:

    “If I said it’s going to be priced at $19.95 or $29.95 or $9.95, I’d probably get loads of negative reactions too” – I disagree. Look at Leviathan: Warships – noone really complained about the price of a game and it was comparable in a scope with Godus, while being sold for 10$.

    In general though I agree with F2P stigma. Though there’s so very few decent F2P games that basically: noone bothers to change it.

    • Jeremy says:

      I do think his point remains intact, even though you’re right; nobody would complain about a game that was $9.99. It’s more than just matching current market trends, and allowing a retailer (in this case Steam) to set a price because it’s the standard in pricing. I at least appreciate the fact that he’s putting thought into the pricing.

    • Mctittles says:

      You have to keep in mind that generally cheaper priced products do not sell as well as higher priced ones. There’s a limit of course, but it’s hard to avoid the brain equating value to a price and when just looking through a list of games, automatically thinking a cheaply priced one is also a “cheap” game.

      • benkc says:

        Is that really how normal people’s brains work?

        And I thought *mine* was weird.

        • jrodman says:

          For luxury goods, often. For status goods, usually.

          To what extent do videogames operate like luxury goods? I have no idea. They are a luxury, really. But do we perceive them as of that set? Or more like a can of soda?

        • Mctittles says:

          I know if I have $60 burning a hole in my pocket and am looking through games on Steam I will likely buy something closer to the amount of money I have to spend and pass up cheaper games.

          That’s of course in a situation where I don’t have a lot of information other than screenshots and price of the games I’m looking at.

  5. Cinek says:

    As for the Godus itself – I stay rather optimistic. I didn’t support kickstarter, but I do like the art style and I keep on tracking a development of it.
    I’d gladly play the game cause so far it seems to be going in a right direction. My greatest fear though is that it won’t have any depth and will grow up as a simple build&fight game with changing landscapes between missions. We’ll see how it goes though. Regardless of what Molyneux did or what he did not (call me sentimental here, but so far I tried 3 games he made – Populous: Beginning, B&W, B&W2 – and enjoyed them all).

  6. DatonKallandor says:

    The frustrating part is that sometimes Molyneux says something true. Like his bit about the pricing structure and it having no relation to what developers actually need or want to charge – it’s purely set by the publishers, and they get pressure from the increasingly obsolete retailers.

    Or his bit about Free To Play being a perfect system because it should let the player pay for exactly what he wants and not stuff he doesn’t need. But like Communism, we’ll never get the ideal Utopian version of Free To Play – because at the end of the day we’re still human. And neither F2P nor Communism work with human beings.

    But sadly those nuggets of interesting truth are buried by avalanches of Molyneuxisms.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      If “Communism” doesn’t work with human beings, then how did Soviet Russia go from being a defeated agrarian backwater in World War I to world superpower status in 30 years? Successful industrialization, defeated Nazi Germany, space program? Clearly “Communism” did something.

      • phelix says:

        Not necessarily true. China, during its period of ‘true’ communism, suffered enormous decline, also partly due to the lack of visionary leadership (which Mao had promised). Correct me if I’m wrong, but China only grew into the economic power that it is today because the government (reluctantly) stops embracing most principles of Soviet-style communism.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Nah, it’s not MOST, it’s select…. stop embracing communism when it means trading with capitalists

        • Terragot says:

          “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a white cat or a black, I think; a cat that catches mice is a good cat.”

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Also communism was powerful enough to inspire some pretty effective propaganda against it. Still seeing the effects of that.

        • Noburu says:

          THIS.

          Also Communism on paper and in theory is a lot different than implementation.

          • Chaz says:

            Indeed, you could really say that we still haven’t yet seen true communism in action, because so far it’s always ended up being hijacked by tyrants and dictators, usually through personality cults and plain old terror and ruthlessness.

            It is of course important to note that authoritarian tyrannical regimes are not limited to communist countries. There’s plenty of despots in the capitalist sphere too, and David Cameron, George Osborne and William Hague et al are just the latest such figures.

      • Cinek says:

        Communism loves big projects.
        But the society suffers. By the time Space Program was as it’s peak – hundreds of thousands suffered famine, were imprisoned, sent to Siberia, them and their relatives suffered persecution from the authorities, etc. etc.

        • Muzman says:

          A large part of that, in USSR and China particularly, can be pointed at how the communist system came about in the first place Civil war and subsequent states still ‘at war’ with anything that might try and tear it down, from within and without (even several decades on).
          On a purely technical level I still think communism’s main obstacle is scale. It can’t really do a big society without severe diminishing returns from a growing bureaucracy (and then how that plays out depends on a few initial conditions whether authority is asserted, or it just falls apart.)

          • Cinek says:

            Before ’89 there was plenty of small countries implementing communism. So I don’t think that scale is a problem. Unless your “diminishing results” start with a population of a city… and you are trying to tell us that communism would only work in Neanderthal tribes?

          • Muzman says:

            Well communes really. And I don’t know why it’d have to be an extinct species, but anyway.
            Yes I think the breakdown can occur at city scales. A just bureaucracy has ever larger material and time demands. Democracy is bad enough by itself in that department. But it depends on a lot of things, like just how ‘communal’ things are. Small countries can do it reasonably well. Small land areas, maybe agrarian and mid size industry. It’s kind of hard to envisage a large fast moving economy working well in this environment the way we mostly understand it. But there’s reason to think that technology might expand the possibilities for it, at least in the abstract (and I don’t why we’re talking about communism here, but hey…)

        • Consumatopia says:

          Arguably, it’s not that Communism is good at big projects but bad at alleviating suffering, it’s that Communism manages to accomplish the big projects by causing suffering–e.g. it’s able to build the big projects because it steals all the bread that millions of farmers grow, uses that to feed factory workers, and lets the farmers starve. Communism can build great infrastructure that makes future generations wealthier, but at the expense of extreme, unspeakable suffering (stories of starving children eating each other) in the present generation.

          Red Plenty might be a good novel for some of us in this thread to read.

          • gi_ty says:

            Purely for the sake of argument I don’t believe (as stated in a previous post) that true communism has ever existed at the state level. Marx may have got the ball rolling, but it was quickly hijacked by ruthless power mongers (Stalin). Power corrupts as they say and I don’t think humanity has yet produced someone with the political savvy and ruthlessness to gain power whilst being a genuinely altruistic ruler.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        We’ve yet to see actual Communism implement anywhere. There’s a reason for that – human beings aren’t built to be totally 100% selfless. There’s always going to be someone in charge because they want to be in charge, and other people who aren’t but want to be. There’s always going to be someone who’s unhappy with their position. Hence, Communism is never going to be tried, much less implemented. The earliest we’ll ever be able to try for real is if we hit post-scarcity energy-matter conversion economy.

        Just because some countries call something another country does “communism” doesn’t mean it’s true. Funny how we obviously see that “The Democratic People’s Republic of China” is neither democratic, nor for the people, but when it comes to calling them Communists it is obviously true, without looking at what Communisms is actually supposed to look like. Hint: It’s not supposed to look like anything that’s been labelled communism in the past hundred years.

        Aynway, the point is, Molyneux said something interesting, but it’s surrounded by the usual molyneux lies and exaggerations, which is a real shame.

      • biggergun says:

        Russian here. I honestly wanted to present a convincing argument, but I can’t. I have nothing to say to someone who thinks that space program or social equality or whatever justifies concentration camps and mass murder. Yeah, and nazis introduced 8-hour work day. Go tell that to the Jews.

    • MentatYP says:

      While you’re right about communism and human nature being incompatible, I think you’re being too pessimistic with F2P. For instance Path of Exile is well on its way to being the model of how F2P should be done, i.e. no Pay to Win (P2W). They are demonstrating that you can have one without the other; it just takes a concerted effort and discipline to do so. Firefall is almost there too, although they do have a few performance related purchase options like % experience increase for a limited time. Point being that while the past of F2P is certainly bleak, there’s plenty of reason to be hopeful for the present and future.

    • notenome says:

      For that matter there will never be the utopian version of capitalism (which is vastly, vastly different from what is branded as capitalism today). As an example, Adam Smith believed in a hundred percent death tax, to insure that children of wealth would not have a competitive advantage. Propose that anywhere in the world and you’ll be labeled a communist.

      On the other hand, the societies that inspired communist theory have not only existed, they’ve been more or less the norm of the human experience. Marx was tremendously influenced by Rouseau’s descriptions of hunter-gatherer societies, and saw in communism a return to those largely egalitarian norms. To say that private property is somehow ingrained in human nature (an iffy concept at best) is to be wildly ignorant about how humans have actually lived during most of their history. You are simply regurgitating your own cultures values in a normative way.

      • mickygor says:

        It’s not so much ingrained in human nature as it is derived from self ownership and consequently a natural right. That prior societies hadn’t developed enough socially to be aware of natural rights does not preclude their existence, and to be honest I suspect we’d see strong evidence of private property dating right back to the dawn of humanity anyway if time weren’t so good at destroying evidence.

  7. Time4Pizza says:

    I have no problem with Molyneux, except he gets an awful lot of press. Remind me again why this guy is gaming icon? Because he made Fable and Populous? I am not entirely sure that qualifies you to be the most well-known game developer in the world.

    I am honestly asking, no sarcasm, what exactly has this man done in the last 20 years that makes him such a gaming legend? And if we throw out Populous, released in 1989, has he ever done anything ground-breaking?

    Like I said, no problem with the man. Just trying to understand where he gets all this mega street-cred from.

    • Terragot says:

      It’s similar to the victorian freak show. Clearly here we can see a man that has a disability beyond his control, and these articles provide a platform for us all to sneer “Look, look at the stupid, stupid man with his wild horse notions and disregard for grounding”.

    • Strabo says:

      Okay, without Populus he is the guy who made/was heavily involved with Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Hi-Octane, B&W 2, Fable 1-3, games I very, very much enjoyed, even if they all fell short of his dreams/promises. Even with falling short they were still really good games. So yeah, the guy has deserved his reputation – as really good designer but also as wind bag.

      • MrThingy says:

        I think I was rather fortunate to grow up in the 80s and 90s as I basically tracked everything that Bullfrog released and so, for a lot of us oldies, Peter Molyneux is something of a nostalgic icon for the good games we played in our youth.

        (and the excitement of seeing preview screenshots of Magic Carpet, Syndicate Wars, etc. in magazines and watching beta footage on TV shows like Bad Influence and GamesMaster)

        I just find it hard to get excited about GODUS. If anything, I think he’s scaled back the hype too far this time and is marching on with what looks like (from the videos so far) a very tedious-to-play god game that even lacks Populous’ charm.

        • Cinek says:

          Tedious? Why tedious?

          • MrThingy says:

            Most of the terrain manipulation shown so far looks wayyyyyyyyy too micro fiddly and not what I would put in the ‘fun’ category. In populous, it must’ve been the terrain tile size that made it look like you were raising and lowering large mountains at a time, but here it looks like you’re picking tiny bits of snot out of a giant bogey.

  8. nebnebben says:

    Hear the crumpling of the broken sad cardboard boxes of promises. Peter chucks a few more onto this desolate graveyard as the nearby children of hype quietly cry…
    Meanwhile he builds another game, no masterpiece which will revolutionize gaming forever, it combines neo-classical punk rock bands with inspiration from antediluvian game mechanics to create the archetypal experience nobody will want to miss. The children stop crying, most out of amazement of this god of gaming but a few poor disillusioned children attempt to stab with Molyneux with the golden shards of his shattered utopias. They do not succeed. And so the cycle goes on.

    I think I might have overwrote it a tad…

    • MentatYP says:

      Very Molyneux of yeux.

    • Samwise Gamgee says:

      It was beautiful and brought a tear to my eye *sniff*, although I fear that killing the Molyneux may release what is inside and make it more powerful than you could possibly imagine….

  9. mickygor says:

    I wouldn’t throw stones at him. I quite like the freemium model.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Voluntaryism high five!

      Exactly. Let people vote with their money and bad F2P will die out while the good ones will thrive.

      I like you. I like smart people.

      • mickygor says:

        Yeah, I’ve played a lot of f2p games with microtransactions, but I’ve only spent money on 2 of them – League of Legends and Planetside 2. The others just weren’t good enough. To be honest, the only difference between f2p and conventional games is that the bad ones you have to buy into don’t sell well so they don’t get anywhere near as much press. People take issue with developers trying to milk them every step of the way, but that’s not an issue with the model, that’s a (subjective) issue with the developers.

  10. Widthwood says:

    I got a really bad vibe from this whole interview.

    The easiness with which he constantly twists his own words, intentions, and even dreams was really strange. I could almost see he him calmly smiling and telling all this crap… More than once he showed complete disregard for people around him – in the first part, where he completely forgot about himself announcing curiosity for pc, and in this one – where he basically tells that he has no financial plan whatsoever, as if future of people working for him doesn’t interest him one bit. And biggest mistake about Lionhead was that THEY forgot who they were?? Wasn’t it that HE sold it off to Microsoft? And he wants to keep 22cans a 1-project studio, so that if a project fails – he will go and announce with sad eyes he has to lay off people, or maybe sell it once again to someone else?…

    • timethor says:

      @Lionhead: “This is the mistake, the horrible, terrible, tragic mistake I made with Lionhead. I forgot who Lionhead should be.”

      He comes across as a very honest man. Real people have grand plans for the future, encounter difficulties, change their mind, make mistakes, etc. And this guy admits to all of it. We’re so used to sanitized PR speak that a developer speaking freely is interpreted as.. well go check out the colorful collection of insults hurled his way in the previous part of this interview.

      • TaylanK says:

        “He comes across as a very honest man.”

        Funny, I was gonna say he reminded me of a car salesman after a bad purchase decision. “Did I say four wheels? You got me there. But try to look at this as a three-wheeler concept car; isn’t it amazing that way? Yeah I know I said the smell would be gone by now, but at least it doesn’t have any creative control over the color of the seats.”

      • derbefrier says:

        Thats what i get from these interviews. Hes just a guy with big ideas. he gets excited and tells everyone (which is a mistake because people lack empathy and understanding which is easy to see by these comments). So then starts to make this game and realizes he cant do everything he wants but still manages to make pretty good game but no one notices because hes raised everyone’s expectations so high they are disappointed no matter what. This is a harsh truth all buisnessmen have had to learn. This is why we see the type of PR speak we are so used to from every other company because we cant rely on people to be reasonable or understanding when things don’t go exactly as planned. So we get vague non answers most of the time. Its really funny people don’t realize most devs would probably be like Peter if they were really honest and not so scared of saying something wrong and god bless Peter for not giving a shit and speaking from his heart.

        • limimi says:

          No, it’s not that people lack empathy and understanding, it’s that Petey has knocked any empathy and understanding out of them over two decades of non-stop broken promises. You, on the other hand, have stockholm syndrome. CAN’T YOU SEE YOU NEED HELP! sobs etc

          • Nogo says:

            Or we learned our lesson after reading the first previews of Fable, and the great interviews afterwords where Molyneux explains what happened.

            I love hearing from this guy because interviews like this have taught me tons about not only creating games, but about how creating something is ultimately a process of learning to settle with what you can manage.

            I’d rather come in here with a grain of salt rather than pocket sand.

      • Skabooga says:

        If I had to choose between Molyneux’s failure to deliver and admitting it, or the typical public relations cover of a failure to deliver by denying it up and down (EA, I’m looking at you), I’d choose Molyneux’s every time.

        And while he may fail in creating something new and novel, at least he is trying to create something new and novel, unlike certain large publishers/developers (Activision/Blizzard, I’m looking at you this time).

        • Atrak says:

          Amen brother (or sister). I would much rather be in a world that had someone like Peter as a designer than one without. Quite a few of the larger game companies ideas basically just involve “how much money can we squeeze out of the players?” and not ‘I have this awesome Idea for a game!”. I’ll take the guy that shoots high gets carried away with talking about it and doesn’t achieve it all, than one who doesn’t bother aiming and just increases the number after the last title bumps up the graphics a little and calls it innovation.

          Obviously we feel upset when we are promised the world and get a small island, I also understand the passion behind the people, but the hatred that is sometimes directed at Peter isn’t warranted.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Very well said. Those spewing hate and bile against Molyneux are immature people, who inside are still kids who want to believe in Father Christmas. Hence they latch on every promise and hype they can find, looking for anyone who will promise them The Ultimate Game Of Their Dreams ™. They don’t understand that such a thing doesn’t exist, and that between the announcement of a creative project and it’s end, a lot of things can happen and most actually don’t succeed. The bitter disappointment they fall in afterwards is entirely their fault.

        Given the amount of bad games out there, it’s easy to see that if those were all announced from the concept stage or started through a successful kickstarter, Peter would not appear as anyone special. But since most people keep what they do under wraps (and even sometimes silently kill off their projects without the public knowing about it), he gets all the hate because he’s chatty.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Maybe he’s honest. Probably. But if so it seems he sometimes sees things through rose-coloured glasses or forgets about earlier promises.

        He has some interesting ideas, but I’ll be waiting to see on what he can actually deliver before putting any trust in anything he’s undertaking.

        • mickygor says:

          Yea. I’d say he’s just naïve and young at heart. Dunno about you, but I have dreams just like Molyneux’s quite frequently, but if I ever even get started on them I figure out that developing them is bloody hard, and I’ve yet to complete anything anywhere near like where I started.

  11. Rollin says:

    So glad I didn’t fund Godus.

  12. Fenixius says:

    So many people are so jaded about Molyneux – and I don’t blame them for that! – but he really is a brilliantly clever person, and he aims for the stars. I absolutely respect that, and so I’m very glad to have had these interviews. More, when appropriate, please!

    • S Jay says:

      Aiming for the stars with a ship made of sheets of paper. I am not sure “ambition” and “trying as hard as possible” is actually commendable here.

      I think he needs a pinch of FOCUS. I am pretty sure one can be ambitious, but you also need to focus to get to the ambition. You can’t set goals like “I am going to climb the Everest, become a better chef than Gordon Ramsay, win the USA presidential elections and go to Mars – this week”.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      He’s inspired, yes. Imaginative. But clever? I don’t know about that.

      I would like to be able to trust him, but he doesn’t seem to make good on most of the exciting things he promises. I find it harder and harder to take him seriously. Especially when he does nonsense like Curiosity.

  13. timethor says:

    Fable II got a very respectable score of 89 from 95 professional reviewers?

    Pretty low user score, but you know, the internet. Some low-scoring gems from the user reviews:

    “Amazing how people are voting on an unreleased game! However, I guarantee you that it will not meet the hype. We all know which game will be the best.”

    “Boring, no point, not something im buying when it comes out, i sent the disc to a friend even tho it was a present from my job.”

    “This game is bland boring and same from Microshaft. They are trying to dominate and stagnate the gaming industry as they have done with the PC industry for the past 20 years. Microshaft would like the public and tech in general to advance when they say we can advance. I don’t have Windows anything at home is use Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris.”

    “this game get a big fat 0 from me, id rather suck a cock than play this for another minute. it sucks big fat dick with an std dont buy it buy a sony game that is decent maybe like LBP or GT5 or HOME i mean seriusly get a life i dunt wanna run aboot with my fucking pet camel. pS3 FTW”

    That said.. this last eloquent gentleman did point out something relevant. Fable II was an Xbox exclusive. Maybe some of the rabid Molyneux hate unconsciously comes from PC gamers feeling betrayed? Especially after Curiosity only appeared on phones, the horror.

    • S Jay says:

      I guess it boils down to expectations. I think it was a pretty decent game (I did not track the hype before it was released). So I didn’t expect much of it, I just tried it and liked.

      BUT if you followed all the Molyneuxing about the game, how it would change your life and bla bla, then obviously you end up frustrated. I feel Molyneux would make better games if he was trapped inside a cube and never allowed to communicate with the external world – so he could not inflate people’s expectations and then disappoint everyone.

      • Nogo says:

        Oddly enough MS learned to keep his mouth shut come Fable II so we were mostly just promised a dog. And it was a good dog.

    • iucounu says:

      Let me tell you about my Fable 2 experience, which is the source of my deep and long-held grudge against Molyneux.

      Back around the time this came out, I had a wheezy old Toshiba laptop, an Xbox 360, and a PS3. I played most of my games on the console-boxes, because the Toshiba didn’t have the oomph for graphics. When Fable 2 came out I thought, hey, that looks fun, and bought a copy for the Xbox.

      I had a brilliant time with it. It was pretty thin, yes, but the combat was fun in an undemanding-ARPG kind of way, and it was just kind of nifty beating up on people. I liked the dog; I didn’t really mind that all the stuff Molyneux was talking about in terms of persistent worldbuilding was complete bunk.

      So I get about 75% of the way in and I am doing the completist clear-up – popping around tidying up side-quests and collectibles before the endgame. I shoot about a hundred and fifty gargoyles, which are the hidden collectible things that make you explore every inch of each map, and which give you some kind of bonus I wanted if you pot them all. On my way to #151, I stop by a sidequest called Nightmare Hollow.

      This is a sequence in which you are zapped into a pocket-dimension dreamworld and reduced to childhood, and have to kill all the baddies to get out. The baddies are scaled-up versions of the normal monsters – scaled up fairly crudely, it seems. The third wave of them get blasted with my ridiculously-OP area-effect spell, killing them all – or so I think.

      The mission won’t advance. I wander about. Nothing happens. Nobody appears. Eventually I realise that one of these crudely-scaled-up Hobbs has been blasted over a bit of scenery into a blue hell somewhere by my spell. It’s still alive out there, but I can’t reach it. The mission is stuck.

      Normally, in a big RPG like this, you reload the pre-mission save and hope it doesn’t glitch this time. But this won’t work here, because – in a completely fuckheaded decision – Lionhead have only given you one save slot per character. There’s no way to reload. There’s no way to quit the mission, either, because this is a special mission, which has you ‘trapped’ in the Hollow, and so won’t let you back to the main map. Which is also fuckheaded.

      I go and complain online. Nothing happens. I find other poor lost souls out there, also being ignored. I have shot one hundred and fifty fucking gargoyles, guys; I am not doing 75% of the game all over again. Nothing happens. I open a ticket with Lionhead. Nothing happens. One with Xbox Live. Nothing happens.

      I go back to Nightmare Hollow and try spamming AoE spells in every crevice of the level in case I can kill the survivor and force the mission to update, but it fails. In the middle of one apocalyptic fireball spell, my Xbox RRODs.

      I put the Xbox under a pile of boxes in my study, fired up Ebay and bought a proper PC. Never looked back. (At least on PC I could have modded my way out.)

  14. v_ware says:

    He’s so full of shit.

  15. merc-ai says:

    He raised good points about pricing and how F2P is perceived by now. He also answered all questions – aside from his “I don’t know at this point” being a 2-paragraph answer. I doubt I’m only one who understood everything Peter said here.

    So, what IS confusing about that interview? I got the impression that a lot of people either jump in with already formed negative opinions, did not even read the interview, or lack basic reading comprehension.

    • Rovac says:

      Same here
      I like Peter and all his ideas. I dont really get frustated when those ideas fail to meet expectation because that’s how things always seems to go down these days
      Also, he kind of reminds me of myself in happpier times

  16. Sarkhan Lol says:

    The dog is the interface.

    The worm is the spice.

    • db1331 says:

      THE DOG MUST FLOW

      • Lanfranc says:

        The spice exists on only one planet in the entire universe. A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts … The planet is Arrakis, also known as Dog.

  17. db1331 says:

    I love that picture with “GODUS” above the little town with smoke rising from the chimneys and the person in the foreground. I bet if you replaced the houses with a big pile of shit and kept the chimney smoke (Now hot steam), and replaced the little person with a closeup of Peter shrugging, it would perfectly sum up what this game is going to be.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      When it turns out to be a good game, you’re gonna crawl back and beg to be allowed to play it.

  18. jfrisby says:

    I waited and was looking forward to Curiosity on PC, even though I haven’t played/paided-for a Molyneux game in more than a decade, so that was a bummer.

    His decisions seem pretty genuine, lives in an absurd larger-than-life showman narrative of his own creation, and is from a generation that doesn’t filter/still answers the phone. What’s not to like?

  19. guygodbois00 says:

    Peter Molyneux on life after death.

  20. Thurgret says:

    From watching over a friend’s shoulder, the GODUS Alpha already has some disturbing free-to-play elements visible in it. Gems, for example. It appears that you can either procure gems at an excruciatingly slow rate in the game, or buy them with real money. You need to use gems to get many interesting things. Want to expand the land available? 5,000 gems (for what it’s worth, my friend there had one hundred and something gathered in five hours of play).

    The game itself looks pretty poor, but it’s an Alpha, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. I dislike that they don’t seem to be terribly up-front about the extent to which their game is going to feature microtransactions, even for single player, unless I’ve missed some announcement.

  21. jrodman says:

    I’m not sure how any so-called game designer could imagine that having frequent price-tag distractions in the game experience would improve it.

  22. tormos says:

    This interview is Molyneux back on top form after his relatively poor showing the other day. I feel like it’s remarkably hard to hate (or even dislike) the fellow who showed up to this interview.